12th SS in Normandy

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by canuck, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Martin King

    Martin King Junior Member

  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    A Jagdtiger?
     
  3. woapysittank

    woapysittank Member

    OK pzjgr,

    Wiking until recently regarded as clean but listed on AHF.

    Soldiers from the division took part in the murder of hundreds of Jews in the castle at Zloczow (Zolochiv) during the first days of July 1941 together with Ukrainian militia. The massacre was put to an end by soldiers from 295. Infanterie-Division at the order of Oberstleutnant Helmuth Groscurth. (7)

    On 9 July 1941 soldiers from the division took part in the massacre of Jews in Lviv in revenge of the death of Hilmar Wäckerle, commander of SS-Infanterie-Regiment Westland. (9)

    In Zhitomir soldiers from the division took part in the rounding up and killing of commissars and officials July 1941. (6)

    Einsatzkommando 11 of Einsatzgruppe D and a mobile gassing van was travelling together with the division in 1942 murdering people seen as undesirable. (3)

    Sonderkommando Jankuhn led by Dr Herbert Jankuhn of the SS-Ahnenerbe was attached to Wiking and the division supported them in their plunder of artifacts from the Black Sea area in 1942. (4)

    General der Gebirgstruppen Karl Eglseer, commander of 4. Gebirgs-Division, complained about indiscipline and widespread looting by soldiers from Wiking in April 1942 when the divisions served near each other in the River Mius area. The Slovakian Generals Gustav Malár and Jozef Turanec, commanders of Slovak Fast Division that served next to Wiking during this period, also raised the same criticism. (5)
    The Finnish volunteers distributed among the units of the Wiking divisions instead of serving in the Finnisches Freiwilligen-Bataillon der Waffen-SS wrote in letters home and in their diaries about how the Soviet POWs and civilians were treated badly or even killed by soldiers from the division during the early phase of the war on the Eastern Front. (8)

    Soldiers from the Wiking division were involved in the killing of Hungarian Jews in March/Aril 1945. (10) On 17 November 2009 Adolf Storms was charged with the murder of 58 Hungarian Jewish forced labourers near Deutsch Schuetzen in Austria on 29 March 1945 but he died before he could be brought to trial.

    Listed on WIKI.

    Members of the division's bakery column, led by Obersturmführer Braunnagel and Untersturmführer Kochalty, assisted Einsatzgruppe A in rounding up Ukrainian Jews. Witnesses report that the Jewish victims were forced to run a gauntlet formed by soldiers who would beat them as they passed, and when they reached the end of the gauntlet, Einsatzgruppen officers murdered them and their bodies were pushed into a bomb crater. The German 1st Mountain Division is also suspected of being implicated. Between 50 and 60 Jews were killed in this manner, as a part of the larger Einsatzgruppe operation which resulted in over 700 murders[9]
    In addition historian Eleonore Lappin from the Institute for the History of Jews in Austria has documented several cases of war crimes committed by members of the 5 SS Division Wiking in her work The Death Marches of Hungarian Jews Through Austria in the Spring of 1945.[10]
    On March 28, 1945, eighty Jews from evacuation column, though fit for the journey, were shot by three members of the Waffen SS division Wiking and five military policemen. On April 4, twenty members of another column that left Graz tried to escape near Eggenfeld, not far from Gratkorn. Soldiers from the 5 SS Division Wiking that were temporarily stationed there apprehended them in the forest near Mt. Eggenfeld and then herded them in a gully, where they were shot. On April 7 and 11, 1945 members of the division executed another eighteen escaped prisoners.

    About 45 Divisional members served in the camps before or after service in the Division including Mengele who was highly pleased with his service, Wiking veterans don't mention him much.
     
    Za Rodinu and James S like this.
  4. woapysittank

    woapysittank Member

    Hohenstaufen less crimes but AHF again.

    Heinz Hagendorf, a medical NCO, was post-war sentenced to six month for using and firing at American soldiers from a Red Cross marked ambulance at Henyelez, Belgium, in January 1945.

    Three American airmen were killed and one severly beaten in retaliation for an air raid near Strassgang, Austria in March 1945. Markus Lienhart was sentenced to death post-war for the killings and Franz Lienhart to 10 years for the beating.

    Served in Concentration Camps 22 members and in the Einsatzgruppen 2.
     
  5. woapysittank

    woapysittank Member

    AHF again on Nordland.

    Pukovnik Stjepan Peričić, the commander of the Croatian I Mountain Brigade reported in a letter that an SS unit had killed 100 people in Popovaca on 16 September 1943 following an attack by partisans, the killed included civilians as well as partisans. This incident occurred in the area controlled by units of the Nordland division. The letter was used in the Nuremberg trials.

    12 members served in the camps.
     
  6. woapysittank

    woapysittank Member

    Martin,

    Did he say he drove a Jagdtiger in 12th SS or the Bulge ?
     
  7. Martin King

    Martin King Junior Member

    sorry it was a Jagd Panzer IV for
    the12th SS Panzer Division
     
  8. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Did he push on into Krinkelt/Rocherath on the night of 17/18 December 44?
     
  9. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Pzjgr
    Well it was not just one Canadian soldier that shot one German soldier during the fighting around Caen. So y'all are saying that because it was not systematic throughout the unit that the shooting of prisoners that took place by the Canadians is justified? It is this thinking that I don't agree with and will speak against. The 'holier than thou' attitude.


    I don't think it is a case of trying to justify anything.
     
  10. Martin King

    Martin King Junior Member

    Yes a Jagd Panzer IV for
    the12th SS Panzer Division
    during the battle of the Bulge. He was slightly wounded just east of Rochrath
     
  11. Martin King

    Martin King Junior Member

    Did he push on into Krinkelt/Rocherath on the night of 17/18 December 44?

    In his own words:

    Two days into
    the battle, we were getting tired and
    weary. Most of us hadn’t slept since
    we set off on December 16. Some of
    us were stuck on the other side of
    the Elsenborn Ridge. My company
    encountered very strong resistance
    at Krinkelt and Rocherath and suffered
    many casualties there. The
    12th SS had been on the move for quite a few days. I recall that it was
    some time in the late afternoon on December 18 when we advanced
    again in the direction of these villages.
    Almost immediately we came under sustained artillery fire. I was
    driving a heavy Jagd Panzer and clearly heard the shells whizzing past.
    Some exploded close by and shook my vehicle. We were very well
    trained to deal with these situations but didn’t expect such a strong fight
     
  12. Martin King

    Martin King Junior Member

    The shooting of prisoners was ubiquitous in the 82nd Airborne and 101st during the Battle of the Bulge. I have it on film form one survivor of the 82nd.
     
  13. Martin King

    Martin King Junior Member

    ... I should much like to get some proof of the fact that Wa-SS units were actually tougher and fought till the last...?
    Heimbrent, I'm pretty sure that at the beggining of W.W.I.I they were of a very good calibre but that had depreciated quite dramatically by 1944. I don't think it's fair to say they were tougher but the level of dedication was indeed in some cases higher. I recall Hans Baumann of the 12th SS telling me that he actually wanted to join the police force but was coerced into signing up for the SS at the office in Aachen.

    regards Martin
     
  14. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Not quite. Apparently the facts provided of Waffen SS divisions not accused of war crimes seems unacceptable. As someone stated, can't argue with facts. I agree.

    My point is this. While the German atrocities were prosecuted, reports of allied atrocities against Germans were never pursued thoroughly, thus the lack of documented proof. The message seems clear. War crimes committed in a good cause are politically acceptable, perhaps regrettable, but such war crimes are prosecuted only on the side that loses the war.

    Should you achieve some success in your ongoing attempt to rehabilitate the image and reputation of the SS, Al-Qaeda may also call on your services. I'm sure there are some wonderful individuals in that organization who have been unfairly lumped in with the bad apples.
     
  15. pzjgr

    pzjgr Member

    Should you achieve some success in your ongoing attempt to rehabilitate the image and reputation of the SS, Al-Qaeda may also call on your services. I'm sure there are some wonderful individuals in that organization who have been unfairly lumped in with the bad apples.

    Don't know where I said I was attempting to rehabilitate the reputation of the Waffen SS. If you are resorting to personal blows because of obvious different point of views, there is no need to continue on this topic. I would have expected better. This justifies my points. Cheers.
     
  16. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    It wasn’t meant as a personal blow. Perhaps it was a little strong but I thought a modern analogy might change the direction of the conversation and offer you a different perspective on how the SS is viewed.
    Regardless of the fact that there may have been some honourable, decent individual soldiers within the ranks of the SS, the organization was the most symbolic military extension of the Nazi party. The SS formations, more than any others, embodied the Nazi philosophy in thought and action. The indoctrination of a Waffen SS soldier was identical to that of the other branches (SD, Gestapo, Kripo, Einsatzgruppen, Orpo) and every member voluntarily subjected himself to the obligation to obey. It far outweighed any previous Christian or Prussian codes of honour. Obedience was unconditional and the SS were conditioned to blindly carry out every order. That ideological training was responsible for making the SS soldier fight with great skill and tenacity but was also the root cause of the many atrocities. In the minds of the SS leadership there was no distinction between its military role and the racial-political tasks of the party.
    Given this background, there is simply no basis of comparison to Allied units, so when you attempt to equate the actions of the SS, relative to murdering prisoners, as being no different from that of the Allies, it flies in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Add to that the many mass killings of civilians by the SS and there is no comparison at all. Individual Canadian, British and American soldiers did periodically kill German prisoners but to find some similarity to the systematic reign of terror by the SS is frankly preposterous. I would go so far as to suggest that the early actions of the SS provoked the subsequent violent response in Normandy.

    From your previous posts, if you weren’t trying to rehabilitate the reputation of the Waffen SS, you were certainly offering a number of excuses for their actions or attempting to equate them as being no different than their adversaries.

    The Germans being the losers, their infractions are put on center stage whereas the victor's are hidden backstage.


    Here we are talking about the fighting between the Canadians and the HJ.....so in this context there have been equal infractions.


    Regardless of who started it or the numbers of prisoners shot.....both sides did it


    I ask you this, if the Waffen SS systematically killed prisoners of war, wouldn't those British paras who surrendered at Arnhem be dead? Why would Bittrich have agreed to a truce to take care of those wounded paratroopers? Systematic killing of prisoners taken...........I think not.


    My listing of Waffen SS divisions that did not commit crimes was in response to the comment……….


    I suggest you do some research on the formation of the Waffen SS and its commanders. You will find that many of them were professional soldiers and those in the leadership wanted to shape the Waffen SS in the professional form as the Heere. Some of those conducted themselves as such.



    I simply don’t think that you can disassociate the SS from the Nazi party as it was a principle instrument of the regime. Those SS soldiers who may have conducted themselves properly have little defence and are difficult to support in light of the organization they fought for. When you belong, you belong. Not much time is ever spent looking for sterling examples of character and integrity among Hells Angels, the Mafia or the Manson family.
     
  17. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    The Germans being the losers, their infractions are put on center stage whereas the victor's are hidden backstage.


    I have heard the term "Victors history" used by some in re-enacting circles , "history is written by the victors" which is not dis similar from the point being made in this quote.
    Well being honest history in the first instance is written by the victors and the generals who wrote their accounts seldom mentioned mistakes in great detail ( human nature) but that is really no longer the case so this commonly quoted views is really null and void.

    The SS were a product of the party and in general they reflected the values of the party, this was particularly true of the 12th SS although some of this shine which may have existed in their senior officers may have been knocked off by their experiences in Russia and Italy.

    I think there is a popular image in some circles that the Waffen SS were something of a "super soldier" this is I think misleading , just as the popular image of the Waffen SS in popular movies is misleading. ( They existed only to dance and spin around when shot by guns which seemed to never run out of ammunition).

    Here we are talking about the fighting between the Canadians and the HJ.....so in this context there have been equal infractions.

    Would like to see proof of this, they would have been pretty equal in their dislike of each other and in the conditions which each fought if staying alive meant killing the other guy that is what would have happened.
    Regardless of who started it or the numbers of prisoners shot.....both sides did it

    Quite likely there is some truth in this but rather than blindly accepting it , what are the actual facts of the matter ?
    Perhaps in blindly accepting it we are doing both a disservice ?
    I ask you this, if the Waffen SS systematically killed prisoners of war, wouldn't those British paras who surrendered at Arnhem be dead? Why would Bittrich have agreed to a truce to take care of those wounded paratroopers? Systematic killing of prisoners taken...........I think not.

    Respect perhaps ? Bittrich would also have been aware that the war was really lost, he would also have seen it as something which he would have been held responsible for and besides which you have to consider that he may not have been the type of man who would have issued such an order.
    A few (3) months before another ( much more junior officer) ordered the destruction of Oradour.......
    See above question, ask Andy regarding the murders of British POW's on the retreat to Dunkirk ?
    My listing of Waffen SS divisions that did not commit crimes was in response to the comment……….

    The influence of the officers who commanded them ?
    "Warts and all" , as the war went on the ranks of the Waffen SS were filled with whoever could be got to fill them , Luftwaffe ground crew who had no aircraft to service , I do agree with Canuck the influence of the Party and its value system cannot be discounted .
     
    canuck likes this.
  18. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    It wasn’t meant as a personal blow. Perhaps it was a little strong but I thought a modern analogy might change the direction of the conversation and offer you a different perspective on how the SS is viewed.
    Regardless of the fact that there may have been some honourable, decent individual soldiers within the ranks of the SS, the organization was the most symbolic military extension of the Nazi party. The SS formations, more than any others, embodied the Nazi philosophy in thought and action. The indoctrination of a Waffen SS soldier was identical to that of the other branches (SD, Gestapo, Kripo, Einsatzgruppen, Orpo) and every member voluntarily subjected himself to the obligation to obey. It far outweighed any previous Christian or Prussian codes of honour. Obedience was unconditional and the SS were conditioned to blindly carry out every order. That ideological training was responsible for making the SS soldier fight with great skill and tenacity but was also the root cause of the many atrocities. In the minds of the SS leadership there was no distinction between its military role and the racial-political tasks of the party.
    Given this background, there is simply no basis of comparison to Allied units, so when you attempt to equate the actions of the SS, relative to murdering prisoners, as being no different from that of the Allies, it flies in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Add to that the many mass killings of civilians by the SS and there is no comparison at all. Individual Canadian, British and American soldiers did periodically kill German prisoners but to find some similarity to the systematic reign of terror by the SS is frankly preposterous. I would go so far as to suggest that the early actions of the SS provoked the subsequent violent response in Normandy.

    From your previous posts, if you weren’t trying to rehabilitate the reputation of the Waffen SS, you were certainly offering a number of excuses for their actions or attempting to equate them as being no different than their adversaries.









    I simply don’t think that you can disassociate the SS from the Nazi party as it was a principle instrument of the regime. Those SS soldiers who may have conducted themselves properly have little defence and are difficult to support in light of the organization they fought for. When you belong, you belong. Not much time is ever spent looking for sterling examples of character and integrity among Hells Angels, the Mafia or the Manson family.

    Canuck,
    you should have been a trial lawyer. Brilliant summation.

    Cheers
     
  19. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    The June 6th memories of J.L. Wagar of Red Deer, Alta., Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, include one particularly visceral vision. “By early evening, we had secured Anisy. I found 15 Platoon settled in along the edge of an orchard. Out in the field about five yards in front of where the sergeant was still digging in, a German soldier was staggering back and forth, eyes wild, breathing hard, tripping on his turns. The sergeant’s Sten gun was lying at the end of his trench. If the German slowed, the sergeant aimed a burst in the ground near his feet.
    “In response to my question, his answer was like rock. ‘This bastard came in with his hands up, then threw a grenade that killed one of my kids! The son of a bitch was a dead man the minute he did it, but this platoon isn’t going to make it that easy!’
    “I went on my way, and on my way back stopped for a moment. The German was still on his feet. His path back and forth was worn bare. His pants and his boots were off, his jacket open. He was flailing with every step, his long underwear stained brown to his ankles. He slobbered, grey as death, no longer a man.
    “I was told later that he had been shot where he fell. The shock that ended the days of my youth and innocence forever was seeing how easily the civilized pretense of humanity slips off.”

    Legion magazine
     
  20. rossaspden

    rossaspden Junior Member

    My father served in 46 RM during the battle at Rots with 12th SS - he has given me first hand account -
     

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